Travel Report: Fashion Around Europe, Literally – Week 2
Each day that goes by makes us fall more and more in love with what we are doing and with this tour around Europe. In each city we stop, we meet interesting people from different fields, not only fashion. We hear stories, we create connections, friendships and we are not strangers anymore.
If you are wondering how we feel after two weeks of this tour, we can say that it’s absolutely amazing and all what we do is fulfilling our spirits. Of course, sometimes we are very tired, but we still get our energy, fuel and support from OMV and we want to thank everybody involved for being on board with us for this Fashion Around Europe, Literally tour.
After visiting Budapest, Bratislava and Prague, Berlin was calling for us. We spent three days in the capital of Germany and we were very lucky because in the same time, the most beautiful buildings of the city were dressed up with 3D shows of lights as Berlin Festival of Lights was going on.
Coming back to the beginning, as we arrived in Berlin, we went straight to the Hotel Gaijin. I have to tell you that our staying at Gaijin Hotel was unique as we never experienced the concept of being treated like “The Last Samurai”. The hotel is an homage to the Japanese culture which is all about living in a simple way, owning only the things that you really need. So having this in mind, Hotel Gaijin offers you this experience without making you feel that you are missing something, on the contrary you are surrounded by modernism, comfort and luxury. You can observe the high-quality in each detail, also at the hotel’s restaurant Kit-Chin where all the ingredients are natural and bio. The menu is specially created in order to healthy feed you. If you are looking to experience a different way of an accommodation in Berlin, you should have Hotel Gaijin on your list.
On Friday evening, after doing the check in at the hotel, we went to have dinner at the CODA Berlin restaurant. I have to tell you from the start that this dinner was an experimental and a non-conventional one as all the courses were deserts. The Chef Rene Frank is creating recipes without using any sugar or white flour as you would expect from the usual pastry. All the ingredients are high-class and are playing with your taste as this is a multi-sensorial experience. Each of the five tastes are created by using only natural ingredients. For example, the sweetness is obtained from fruits, the saltiness from anchovies and cheese, the bitter from plants and herbs, the acidity from citrus fruits and the umami taste from protein-rich foods. The result, is mind-blowing. I can tell you that I will never forget the taste and the smell of the grilled figs, which could easily defeat the best stake I ever had. Also, the pairing of the beverages is unique. Imagine that you are drinking a single malt which has a smoked smell and taste. The staff was introducing us step by step into this adventure and it was very warm and helpful. We want to thank Oliver Bischoff and Frank Rene for everything. By the way, Coda Restaurant also received the 1 star Michelin distinction, which is a well deserved one.
In the morning, we met Mary Li as she wanted to tell us the story behind the concept of the hotel and also give us a tour of it. We had breakfast together at the Kit-Chin Restaurant and we enjoyed again a very healthy food. We found out that Gaijin (the name of the hotel) means in Japanese foreigner and it also referees to strangers, but it’s funny because we had such a good time in Mary’s company and we clicked from the first moment, that we were everything but strangers.
After meeting Mary, we went to Studio 183, which offers you Berlin’s finest independent fashion, design and art. It’s a showroom where you will find mostly seasonless, genderless and one size products. Studio 183 is also recommended by Louis Vuitton Berlin City Guide, so if you go there, you know from where to buy your unique and statement items. At the showroom we met Kathry, she is the founder of the concept and she told us everything about what means selling fashion in Berlin. We also interviewed for the documentary Sofie. She is creating handcrafted designs for her own brand, Temper Berlin. Seeing all the passion that Sofie is putting into her work was touching.
We were very happy to meet also the designer Anne Kirchhoff. She is also creating unisex and timeless designs by reducing the waste of fabrics using the leftovers form textiles factories. Anne is inspired by Berlin’s vibe, people, party and motion. She is designing for everyone in order to make them feel good in their own skin and we had a lot of fun together.
That was it… let’s move to the next city: Antwerp, Belgium.
Oh, boy! I have to tell you that Antwerp is a very beautiful city, but it’s full of contrasts that at some point make you fell a bit lost, especially because on each street of the city you will find some building or a square that is reconstructed. Seeing everywhere sites, it steals from city’s beauty, but you have to learn to see trough them.
We stayed at the Hotel U Eat and Sleep which is located right next to the harbour and to the most beautiful building in Antwerp, MAS Museum. The hotel is focused on making “U” feel cosy, special and loved while enjoying luxury at its best. Each room has a different design and this amazing view with boats, water and beautiful buildings. Some of the rooms come with opened hot tube next to the window and I have to tell you that this takes wellness to another level. Also the food from the U Eat Restaurant is delicious and it offers three different experiences and the menus are powered by the two-star-chef Viki Geunes and by “U” ‘s chef Jaike Dekkers. So, if you came to Antwerp, you know where you have to stop.
Antwerp is know for its artists, designers and good fashion and of course, we had the pleasure to meet two of them. What do they have in common beside the love for fashion? Supporting sustainability…
Our first stop was at Facon Jacmin who is creating a denim wardrobe for women. The twins Alexandra and Ségolène Jacmin are the founders of the brand. Alexandra is living in Paris and is the artist, meanwhile Ségolène has the entrepreneur spirit and it’s taking care of the business. The beauty of this brand is that it’s producing every piece from high quality denim fabrics from Japan, which is known for preserving its traditional artisanal craft and creating an affinity to authenticity. Beside that, Facon Jacmin also recycles old jeans and reuses the fabrics to create different items. Talking about craft, Ségolène showed us a coat made by her sister by using denim threads. She worked 600 hours for it and the result is spectacular.
The second designer that we visited has Romanin roots, but found hers path in Belgium. Ramona moved to Antwerp many years ago and even though she had another job before, her mind couldn’t let her stay away from fashion, so this is how the brand Helder Antwerp was born. She is designing for the strong woman that knows how to enjoy her life each moment. As I told you before, Ramona is very preoccupied of sustainability and all her actions support this way of creating fashion. It was for the first time when we saw the Pinatex fabric, which is made from pineapple leaves. It has such an interesting structure and it’s so easy to wear and to maintain. Ramona is choosing wisely the fabrics that she is using and we admire her for that.
After our visit to Antwerp, we drove to The Hague, where we made a short stop to meet Brindusa, who has one of the best beauty clinics in the city. Essential Aesthetics is the place where you and your well being count the most. All the procedures are meant to help you get in touch with your inner beauty, to feel confident and empowered. Brindusa talked with us about the insights of how you can achieve the natural beauty with the help of the latest innovations. Stay close because soon you can read more about this in the upcoming interview and of course, I will tell you everything about the third week of our tour. See you soon!